Erinys is a bad little priest. Somewhere on her travels she has managed to “liberate” a little tiny windrider from the threat of forced labour carrying taurens around. He seems to like the idea of flying safely under the wings of her drake.
I really don’t agree with the idea of being able to buy in-game stuff for real money. We already pay our subscriptions and asking for more seems a little greedy really. However, when it comes to cute, my principles seem to fly straight out of the window. Guarding my computer I now have one somewhat fluffy looking windrider plushy. Even though I mainly play Alliance, the griphon was a bit too big eyed for my tastes. The windrider on the other hand, has a slightly charming dishevelled look. Think I’m going to call him George Gordon after Lord Byron, although if he lives up to his namesake he’ll probably steal my computer, seduce the neighbour’s cat and run off with the Gnomeling’s credit card.
Since I’m still playing Star Trek Online, the real money for services on top of your subscription has come up a fewtimes recently. It seems that Cryptic (producers of said Star Trek Online) are fond of asking for money for all sorts of things including respecs. Now I think pets are a bit dubious, after all its hardly fair if you are an avid pet collector but really can’t afford to spend another penny on WoW besides your subscription but having or not having a certain pet doesn’t effect your ability to play the game. However things which are essential for game play enjoyment should surely be covered by your monthly subscription. Respecs in my book are essential even if they are limited by cost or time limit (i.e. you can only respec once a week/month), especially if the developers keep changing talents as they strive to balance the game. The same is true of gear, being able to spend real life cash on upping that all important gearscore is just wrong.
As for the pets, what I would prefer is some sort of dual system where if you are really impatient and have a lot of spare cash lying around you could buy them through the Blizzard store but if not, they could be obtained in-game through some sort of questing/grinding path.
For example with the new windrider/griphon, one way of doing it might be something like this:
You might get a mail from Breanni telling you that she’s heard on the grapevine that some Druid at Cenarion Hold has some eggs that need looking after. You head off to Silthius and talk to said Druid. She confirms the story but asks for proof of commitment. After all, she didn’t go to all this trouble rescuing the eggs just to hand them out to the first adventurer that comes along asking. So for the next X amount of days, you run around doing dailies for her. Fetching all sorts of exotic food from different locations just in-case they hatch into fussy eaters, bringing them toys (possibly a new use for the Gordok chew toy:p) and so on. Once they hatch, you need to do more, after all growing cubs need lots to eat. Finally once the windrider or griphon is old enough and strong enough to be released into your care you would get the pet but you might have had to spend a month to six weeks grinding for it.
Another difference might be that if you just bought them from the store you get one per character straight away, if you follow the questing path, you need to do it on each and every character you want the pet on. That way, people with disposable cash and a time shortage would still buy them from the store but it adds an extra choice to the game. Obviously ideally, I would prefer that everything was available in-game but I suspect that’s one battle we’re never going to win.